Serves 4

400g/13oz fresh anchovies

Self-raising flour generously seasoned with cayenne pepper and a little salt
Oil for deep frying
Salt and extra cayenne pepper for dusting

Preheat the deep fryer to 190F/375C/Gas5.

Put the anchovies into a bowl and pour enough milk over them to just cover. Leave them submerged for 10 minutes or so, then drain in a colander or sieve.

Discard the milk.

Put the seasoned flour in a plastic bag and tip in the drained anchovies. Toss them around in it, shaking the bag well until each fish is thoroughly coated.

Suspend the frying basket over the sink, then lift small handfuls of the flour-coated anchovies into the basket – but only fry one portion of fish at a time; to overcrowd the fryer when cooking anchovies will end in disaster; a soggy mass of soggy fish.

Slowly lower the basket into the oil and fry for no more than one to two minutes or until the fish are pale golden and very crisp; they should rustle well when shaken.

Sprinkle with salt and a little extra cayenne, depending how devilish you are feeling at the time.

Drain on to folded kitchen paper and serve with lemon.